Those seeking dental care through the public system are having to wait longer than ever in Maryborough, with some stuck on waiting lists for up to four years, figures have shown.
Data collected by the Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch (ADVAB) shows the electorate of Ripon has one of the longest waiting times for dental care in the state, with the Maryborough District Health Service (MDHS) the worst in the electorate as of April.
The data revealed the average wait time for general dental care at MDHS was 36.5 months, almost double the state average of 20.3 months.
The average wait time for denture care was 46.8 months, while the longest wait time was 52 months — more than four years.
The latest figures also reveal that waiting times at the health service have spiked dramatically since February last year, increasing by more than 60 percent on the previous average waiting time for general dental care at 22.7 months.
Waiting times for denture care also rose by close to 20 percent compared to February last year while the state average for both general dental and denture care has risen by three and four percent since then.
More than 1700 people were waiting for either dental or denture care in April, despite MDHS having treated 954 children and 935 adults in the July 2018 to April 2019 period.
MDHS CEO Terry Welch said there’s a high demand for public dental care locally which con- tributes to lengthy wait times, but said the service actively monitors waiting lists and patient conditions and has a “fantastic record” of treating those with priority needs.
“The delivery of dental services from our public facility is an ongoing challenge,” he said.
For more on this story see the Front Page of The Advertiser, Tuesday, September 10